How to Describe a Picture … in 4 Easy Steps

On Holiday in Cortona, Italy. April 2014

How would you describe the above picture?

Imagine that you want to describe  it to someone who cannot see it; where would you start?

WRITING A DESCRIPTION

Step #1: What do you want to say? Not sure? Try asking ‘Wh questions:

Who … ?  Where … ? What … ? When … ? Why … ? Which … ? How … ?

N.B ‘How’ can be used in addition to the ‘Wh…’ questions.

The answers to the ‘Wh … ?’ questions will provide you with a description:

Question Answer
Who are the people in the picture? … a girl / a waiter
Where are they? … outside dining /in a restaurant/ Cortona, Italy
What are they doing? … She is sitting at a table. She is smiling. The waiter is clearing dishes.
When was the picture taken? … on a warm day , April (she is wearing summer clothes)
Why
is she in this restaurant?
…  on holiday.
   
How
would you describe the girl/the waiter?
would you describe the setting (location)?
… She: beautiful/stunning, gorgeous, young, relaxed, in her 20’s
He: smartly-dressed
… lovely, delightful, pleasant, quaint, charming

As you can see, some questions are more important than others but this is a good start and you have enough information for a description.

Step #2: Write some sentences:

The picture is of a stunning girl in her twenties and a smartly-dressed waiter.

They are in a delightful restaurant.

The restaurant is in Cortona, Italy.

She is smiling at the camera.

He is clearing dishes.

It is a warm day. She is on holiday.

♠ Step #3:  Improve the sentences. To do this, link the information in the above sentences.  If all the sentences are simple, the writing sounds childish.  Read the above sentences aloud and you will see what I mean. This does not mean that you should link every sentence. Sometimes, simple sentences are perfect. However, you need to help the reader understand the connections between your ideas. Good English should be a combination of simple and complex language. You can, for example, link the sentences with Co-ordinating Conjunctions and /or Subordinating Conjunctions. There is more than one way to connect the information. Here is one example:

The picture is of a stunning girl in her twenties who is in a charming restaurant (which is) in Cortona, Italy.

It’s a warm Spring day and she is on holiday.

While a smartly-dressed waiter clears the table, she smiles sweetly at the camera.

 Here is another example:

In the picture, a gorgeous girl in her twenties is dining in a quaint restaurant in Cortona, Italy. (This is a simple sentence. There is only one subject and one verb.)

She is on holiday, it’s a warm day in April, and she is smiling happily at the camera while a smartly-dressed waiter clears the table.

♠ Step #4: Combine the sentences into a paragraph:

Example #1

The picture is of a stunning girl in her twenties who is in a charming restaurant in Cortona, Italy. It’s a warm Spring day and she is on holiday. While a smartly-dressed waiter clears the table, she smiles sweetly at the camera.

Example #2

In the picture, a gorgeous girl in her twenties is dining at a quaint restaurant in Cortona, Italy.  She is on holiday, it’s a warm Spring day, and she is smiling happily at the camera while a smartly-dressed waiter clears the table.

Now, it’s your turn! Try writing a description of a picture with a two or three sentence paragraph. Follow my four steps. Happy writing!

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

 

 

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This entry was posted in Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3), Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to Describe a Picture … in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Rosmy says:

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